Frederick Edward Anstey (b 1880)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Many thanks to Julia for her help with this biography

Frederick Edward Anstey was born in late 1880 in Hackney to parents Edward Joseph Anstey and Mary Ann Stone, hence he is a member of the Foleshill Anstys (though see the Researchers Note below). Frederick was half brother to fellow Anstey Heroes John Anstey and Arthur Anstey.

Frederick’s mother died when he was an infant so he grew up with his father and stepmother Clara Noall in Plumstead, Woolwich. Two of his elder sisters were sent to orphanages due to the family’s poverty and, once he was old enough, Frederick was sent to the “training ship Exmouth, Grays, Essex” for two years, a form of floating ‘Children’s Home‘ for poor and/or orphaned boys, providing him with marine training as well as accommodation.

[Note: the Exmouth Training ship only took boys from the age of 12 until they were 16 or entered the Navy, so presumably he entered in c1892 and left in c1894.]

As a result of this experience Frederick became a sailor, and this profession eventually brought him to Australia, probably by c1910. On 15 February 1916, as World War One was raging, Frederick signed up to join the Australian Imperial Force at Goulburn in New South Wales, Australia. On his Attestation Form he noted that he was born in Marylebone, London and that he was “35 years and 2 months” old at time of enlistment (ie born in around December 1880). He noted that his profession was “sailor man“; he was unmarried; his next of kin was Margaret Anstey, 134 Bethnal Green Road, London; and he was Roman Catholic.

Frederick also stated that his previous military training consisted of “2 years training ship Exmouth, Grays, Essex” and from this we can assume that he was a sailor with commercial ships rather than for example the Royal Navy.

Frederick was attached to “C Company AIF Camp Goulburn” (SERN Depot Regimental Number: 1360) as a Private, but a month later on 20 March 1916 he was discharged from Goulburn Camp “unlikely to become an efficient soldier, not due to misconduct“. In that short time he had managed to commit the offence of “arriving back at camp 11.25pm with no papers

We lose track of Frederick completely after this – anybody who knows what became of him, or would like to add anything to this biography, please contact us at

Researchers Note: We are not entirely convinced that the above biography is correct and research is continuing. The principal issues requiring clarification are firstly, discovering the identity of “Margaret Anstey, 134 Bethnal Green Road, London” who we cannot locate at all; and secondly, the fact that Frederick was “Roman Catholic” when we have no evidence at all of Catholicism in the Foleshill Anstys (indeed we know that his half brother Arthur Anstey was Church of England).

Having said that, other evidence points to this biography being correct, for example the fact that Frederick and two of his siblings attended orphanages and the fact that Frederick’s father Edward Joseph Anstey was a sailor in his youth. Additionally, all other “Frederick Anstey” born c1880 in or near Marylebone that we have discovered have been accounted for.

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